Statement by Rear Admiral Clifford Pearson, Assistant Commandant for Human Resources, on Coast Guard Investigation into Missing Reports

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard is investigating the potential loss of paper copy internal audit reports containing personal information for some of our current and former members during an office move at our headquarters earlier this year. The evidence suggests that the reports were discarded or destroyed in conjunction with the office move.

The Coast Guard Investigative Service is in the final stages of an investigation of the loss, including a thorough physical search of Coast Guard facilities, a comprehensive review of processes by which the missing reports were created, and extensive interviews with anyone who may have had access to the reports. CGIS Special Agent Marty Martinez, who is leading the investigation, has indicated that at this point there is nothing to indicate that the missing reports have been disclosed outside the Coast Guard or that any criminal activity is associated with the loss.

Although there is no evidence of misuse of any of the reports we are personally notifying and providing assistance to all potentially affected individuals. While we believe approximately 3,500 persons may have been identified in these reports, in an abundance of caution, the Coast Guard will notify in writing all 6,200 persons who were involved with the special needs and family advocacy program from 1997 to 2006. We are establishing services for all who may have been impacted by this incident, including a toll-free information hotline which can be reached at 1-888-286-7013, and free credit monitoring services. Additional information may also be obtained at this website.

The personal information was documented in approximately 70 paper reports contained in six to eight three-ring binders. The reports pertain to family advocacy and special needs cases for uniformed Coast Guard members, family members and Coast Guard civilian employees during a ten year period, 1997 to 2006. Each of the reports summarizes and assesses the management of special needs and family advocacy cases conducted by specialists at 13 field units. They are not full case histories, but some may contain limited personally identifiable information, including names and social security numbers. The reports do not include any electronic data or other financial information.

I understand the sensitivity of these reports, both in terms of information security and family privacy. We are making every effort to locate these missing reports and protect the privacy of our workforce. The Coast Guard’s Work-Life programs are best able to serve our people when we operate in an environment of confidentiality and trust. To help safeguard the privacy of our workforce, we are reaching out to anyone who may be affected to ensure they are aware of this possible compromise of their personal information.

I sincerely regret the difficulties this may cause anyone who may be affected by this and am personally committed to identifying and implementing necessary safeguards to prevent any such loss from occurring in the future.

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